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What to know about Indonesian culture and food before you arrive

Indonesia is a vast country. It has more than 18,000 islands and is home to 268 million
people and over 300 ethnic groups that speak more than 700 dialects. So whilst Indonesia is
one country, the culture between islands is diverse and can vary significantly.
This is one reason why we hold weekly Indonesian Culture Nights at Bawah Reserve. We
showcase traditional dances, music and food from our archipelago to give guests a better
understanding of our wonderful section of Indonesia.

 

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Whilst most of our team come from the surrounding Anambas islands, we also have staff
from other parts of Indonesia, such as Bali, Jakarta, Java, Medan and even as far as Sumatra.
Each brings their own knowledge of local dance, music, art and food. This all comes together
during these culture nights.


Dance, Music and Dress

During our cultural evenings, we perform three different traditional dances.

 

Tari Zapin Melayu

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From: Malaysia
The Anambas islands  used to be part of the Malay Empire, a fact which shows in the local
dialect which is closer to Bahasa Malaysia than Bahasa Indonesia. This Malay dance tradition lives on here too.

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Originally part of a religious ceremony, with only males allowed to perform. Today it’s often performed as entertainment and performed in male and female pairs. As you can see today we perform with it with two couples. 

 


Tarian Pusuk Buhit

IMG_9700

From: North Sumatra
This dance from the Batak people of North Sumatra is more elegant than the Zapin. Gentle
hand and leg movements are performed to Gondang music. The performers wear ulos (a
traditional cloth of the Batak people) and a simple headband called a sortali batak. Read
more about this dance here.

 

Gambelan Joged bungbung

IMG_9704

From: Bali
Joged is a style of dance from the island of Bali. The term joged (or joget) is a common word
for dance in Indonesia. The dance is typically accompanied by an ensemble of bamboo
instruments called a gamelan joged bumbung. Balinese joged dance is not religious or
ritualistic, rather it is a social dance that is meant to entertain. This dance is often
performed by a solo female dancer.


Food

IMG_9561

 

It wouldn’t be an Indonesian cultural night if we didn’t showcase an array of amazing dishes
found across the country. We do this in the form of a “rijsttafel” which is a traditional
Balinese-style dining experience in which people share a meal together off one communal
festive plate. It’s designed to encourage bonding amongst the village members.

 

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What you’ll try:

- Balinese satay - a simple dish of seasoned meat (usually chicken) on a stick – cooked
   over a barbecue and served with a deliciously spicy peanut sauce

grilled_satay_served_with_roasted_peanuts_and_crackers_in_bamboo_steamer_treetops

 - Goreng kentang - roasted potatoes with sambal spicy chilli sauce; a common street food
   found in Medan and Yogyakarta
- Sundanese beef – beef is thinned using a pestle and mortar then braised in a paste of
   shallots, garlic, candlenuts, coriander powder, turmeric, ginger and galangal before
   being fried to perfection
- Minced prawn lemongrass skewers - spring onions, kaffir leaf, crushed garlic,
   pepper, chopped red chilli, fresh coriander and fish sauce mixed with minced
   prawns then molded onto a stalk of lemongrass and cooked over a barbecue
- Sauteed tempeh - fermented soybean cake served with spicy kecap manis sauce
- Steamed vegetables (fresh from our gardens) with coconut dressing
- Balinese pan-seared tuna with sambal matah (a raw shallot and lemongrass salsa)
- Chicken pan-fried with galangal, ginger and lemongrass
- Fragrant Indonesian coconut rice
- Onde Onde – glutinous rice balls flavoured by pandan and coconut and filled with gula
   melaka (a sugary liquid from coconut palms)

 

This experience is a sensory cultural extravaganza and a mini-tour of Indonesia all rolled into
one!  

Want to know more about Bawah Reserve?

Simply sign up below.

 

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